The Maryland basketball team could be in for a tall task on Saturday afternoon.
After Michigan State lost to Illinois on Wednesday night, the Terrapins could be facing a very motivated Spartan squad in the regular season finale.
The Spartans dropped a tough 73-70 decision to the Fighting Illini in Champaign. Freshman guard Miles Bridges led the way for Michigan State with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Alvin Ellis III (15 points) and Nick Ward (11) also scored in double figures for Michigan State.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, most analysts had the Spartans as a team that was on the bubble. Aside from the top four in the conference, many Big Ten are currently in the same boat heading into the Big Ten Tournament next week.
According to ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan, Illinois and Michigan State were the two teams that still had “work left to do” when posted his “Bubble Watch” column earlier in the week.
Maryland and Michigan State are set to face off with quite a bit of posturing still up for grabs. As mentioned, the Spartans sure could use an additional quality win heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
On the other hand, the Terps were still considered locks even before beating Rutgers on Tuesday. Aside from getting to the Big Ten title game or even winning it, Maryland probably is going to be a No. 6 or 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In our latest Bracketology roundup, ESPN and USA Today had the Terps as a No. 7 seed with a matchup against No. 10 Syracuse. Jerry Palm of CBSSports has Maryland as a No. 6 seed.
When the Spartans take the court on Saturday, Tom Izzo certainly isn’t going to allow his team to bring anything but their “A” game against the Terps.
Michigan State isn’t going to want to depend on having to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament. Over the years, the selection committee has made quite a few interesting decisions regarding bubble teams, so the Spartans won’t want it to come to that.
This is a very talented roster even without senior guard Eron Harris, who was lost for the season. Bridges and Ward are two of the more impressive freshmen in the entire country, so it’ll be a pretty level playing field for the two teams.
Obviously, none of Maryland’s freshmen are as productive as Bridges. However, the Terps have the length to give him problems around the basket or on the perimeter.
This is certainly going to be a very tight matchup for both teams with a lot on the line. One thing is for sure: Maryland is going to get Michigan State’s best shot.